On my first day back in the harness this week, I was thinking back to my first five months as a vicar and forward to the next term. Recent months have been dominated by “Gone”, the homeless alcoholic who sat on our doorstep every morning, sometimes ringing the bell at 6:30am and waking the kids. You can read the story of Gone over at the Vicar’s Wife.
There’s been times when God has made me pick up a book at just the right time for just the right reason. I’ve been reading Mentoring Leaders by Carson Pue over the summer. It’s been brilliant and I plan to blog a few thoughts which I’ve had from reading it.
As I wondered how to deal with Gone next time he comes round, I read this in Mentoring Leaders:
Eric was one of our regulars, and for several weeks I came to my office in the morning and found him asleep on the porch right outside my door. I would wake him up and help him get on his way for the day, which consumed about an hour of my time.
I was sharing this with Dr. Bruce Milne, then senior pastor, and he said something I have thought of for years since. He told me that sometimes it is okay to step over the Erics in life to get on with the work. He told me that often we are tempted to misuse time, with the evil one usually being behind it. That hour spent trying to assist the Erics in life perhaps was keeping me from something that was going to have a significant impact for the kingdom of God.
It’s hard to “step over” Gone when he persistently bangs on my door, rings my bell or knocks on the window of my study and shouts at me through the glass. He is a nuisance. We’ve done what we can for him. After giving him two months of almost daily help, food, razors, clothes, company, prayer, bible memory verses, a Christian CD, organising a doctor’s visit and going with him on a train journey to Betel Nottingham, I need a way to stop the distraction if he comes back. So I was really glad yesterday morning with the local PCSOs came to the vicarage for a chat and offered to help.